Hospitals continue to crack under the surge

Hospitals across the country are reaching their breaking point on ICU and bed capacity as COVID surges, forcing many health systems to begin diverting patients from emergency rooms and ration care, Axios’ Orion Rummler reports.

What’s happening:

  • New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham (D) plans to allow hospitals to ration care depending on how likely a patient is to survive, the Washington Post reports. Grisham required residents to wear masks and re-enacted strict mitigation efforts.
  • Georgia: Major hospitals, including Grady Memorial and Emory University, have had to turn away patients brought in ambulances, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.
  • South Dakota: The Monument Health Rapid City Hospital and Sanford USD Medical Center — some of the biggest in the state — say they have no more ICU beds, the Mitchell Republic reports.
  • Colorado: More than a third of hospitals across the state said in a survey they expect staffing shortages this week, Colorado Public Radio reports.

Context: White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx noted on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that U.S. hospitals are usually anywhere from 80 to 90% full in the fall and winter — and “when you add 10, 15, 20% COVID-19 patients on top of that, that’s what puts them at the breaking point.”

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